NASA Ames Research Center and Apple Computer Inc. are teaming up to make NASA's educational resources available to educators. The online program, called Apple Learning Interchange (ALI), includes lessons, media-rich exhibits, and events. For example, the first exhibit features a microgravity challenge. It asks students to design analogs for microgravity that could help test new systems such as the Personal Satellite Assistant.
Students will be able to pose questions to NASA engineers, receive feedback on their preliminary designs, and participate in live, interactive Web casts with NASA engineers who will draw connections from student designs to actual NASA missions. Another program called Astro-Venture lets students in grades five through eight role-play NASA researchers, scientists, and engineers using scientific inquiry. They will search for and design a planet with the necessary requirements for human habitation.
"By supporting our teachers with standards-based resources and models of effective instruction, we can improve teachers' instructional skills and build excitement about the crucial subject areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," says Christina O'Guinn, lead for the NASA Ames educational technology team.